Before we go...... getting excited!!
28.03.2011 - 19.05.2011 7 °C
Wow! Finally, the four of us are going to Vietnam! We’re getting so excited about going on the 14-day tucantravel Vietnam Adventure tour in May! Before that we will be going on a 3-day motorcycle tour of the Ho Chi Minh Trail with Vietnam Adventure Holidays.
There is so much that needs to be done in the next 6 weeks before we take off over the massive Pacific Ocean. We definitely need to get a tourist visa. The information we needed about visas is on the Canadian Government website, The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (click here to be directed to the website). This website will keep us up to date with any travel advisories that may arise, even though there are no official warnings right now. Our passports are still valid and will be at least one month after we land back in Canada; one less thing we need to do right now! We will all need to be certain we get a stamp when we go through customs; there are huge repercussions if we do not have a stamp in our passports!
We have an appointment with the International Travel Clinic, here in Calgary this week for a Yellow Fever vaccination. The Yellow Fever vaccination does not take effect for at least 2 weeks, so we should be okay getting the vaccine 5 weeks out. We will need to make sure we bring our International Certificate of Vaccination (the ‘yellow booklet’) just in case we get stopped by the authorities. It probably wouldn’t hurt to get a Dukoral prescription as well; their water is going to be very different than Canada’s and who wants to be stuck in the washroom for the whole 14-day tour!
Money! We’re going to need to exchange some money into US Dollars before we leave. It will be much easier for us to exchange US Dollars into the Vietnamese Dong. Other major currencies can be exchanged but the USD will be the easiest, especially if we are exchanging at a bank like Vietcombank. We’ll have to make sure we exchange any money we need when we are in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City because the exchange rate gets worse the farther away from the tourist areas we are.
The summer monsoon starts in May which means 2 things: hot and humid!! We will need to bring loose fitting, non-synthetic clothing and a rain coat. If anyone of us has hair that goes frizzy, be sure to use conditioner and letting your hair air dry; no blow drying ladies!
It’s going to be so incredibly eye-opening to see the different culture and religion in Vietnam. Apparently 75% of the Vietnamese people follow a combination of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism religions. Religion plays a huge role in their everyday lives, similar to the Islamic faith of the Middle Eastern countries of Asia.
So far this is what we need to pack:
- Lonely Planet Southeast Asia Phrasebook (covers Vietnamese, Lao, Thai, Burmese and Khmer)
- Rain coat – chances are we will get rained on at some point
- Comfortable shoes and sandals
- EARPLUGS!! – I have heard that it can be very noisy between general traffic noise and the loud speakers; I plan to sleep later than 5 AM!
On May 18th & 19th, the four of us will be sitting on a Cathay Pacific flight from Calgary, connecting in Vancouver and Hong Kong, to our final destination of Hanoi. It’ll be great to be escorted around Vietnam seeing all of the amazing sites of this ever growing country, and learning the history that has shaped Vietnam to what it is today.
Keep checking back! We’ll let you know where we are and what we are doing next.